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The team at Hak5 has been doing weekly updates on their show detailing their progress with turning the DJI Phantom 2 as a hacking platform. They have it carrying a portable battery, a WiFi Pinapple and a prepaid Android phone. Updates can be found on their show here. See More
Without any accessories, the Phantom 2 costs about $680 USD which makes it the most expensive option here (excluding a tricked out DIY drone.) Like the 3D Robotics IRIS, a gimbal and camera can be added which brings the full cost to about $1200 USD, meaning this is more than a device for hobbyists. See More
The DJI Phantom 2 is made to carry a camera but your own payload, such as a small computer and antennas can be carried instead. The Phantom 2 can carry up to 300 grams of additional equipment making it capable of carrying a small computer such as a Raspberry Pi along with small antennas and a battery. Even if you don't have a compatible mount, the arms underneath make it easier to create your own "mount" for placing whatever it is you need to carry. See More
After a Phantom 2 landed on the White House lawn, DJI released a firmware update that limits takeoff and introduces a max ceiling in certain areas. All airports have a 1.5 mile radius no-fly zone. Between 1.5 and 5 miles, the maximum ceiling gradually increases from 35' to 400' There is a 15 mile radius no-fly zone around the White House. DJI UAV's will not be able to take-off when in the White House zone. See More
With the base model costing about 750 USD, the IRIS is a very expensive option compared to something like the Parrot AR Drone. That's not including the $220 camera gimbal, $300 GoPro 3, and varying replacement parts you need. The costs on this drone add up quick which could seriously affect the IRIS as a buying option for most people. See More
The IRIS comes with an integrated mount for a GoPro, meaning you do not need a gimbal for filming. It includes a vibration dampener for smooth video. For better filming you can purchase the Tarot brushless gimbal with better vibration resistance and a "lock-on" feature which keeps the camera pointed at the target of interest no matter where you fly. See More
The IRIS comes prebuilt and is easy to use right out of the box. By using the included 3DR Telemetry radio and Android OTG cable, all you have to do is plug the cable in and use the free mission planner to easily plan out your flight and use the emergency return home and flight monitoring features. You can also use your phone or laptom to control the IRIS's flight plan. See More
The Pixhawk is an advanced contoller from 3D Robotics with a processing power that is 20 times faster than their previous controller. It comes with features like *nix-like programming environment, new autopilot functions, airspeed sensor, among others. See More
By building your own, you have the ability to tailor your drone to what you want. If you need it to be faster, or more stable or more powerful you can choose the parts that will work best. It also allows you to use the parts you prefer, rather than the ones you would be forced to use by buying a prebuilt. This way you can mix and match parts to get the exact drone you want. You also have the opportunity to swap out parts to change how your drone flies instead of being constricted to the prebuilts exact type of flying . See More
Building your own drone can be very confusing, especially if you don't know what you are doing or are new to the hobby. It will certainly take quite a bit of trial and error and triple checking everything. Be prepared to do plenty of research in order to get your drone up and running. An excellent article on getting started with some helpful tips and tricks can be found here. See More
Building your own drone is usually cheaper than buying a prebuilt. Especially when first getting started, you don't always need to spend 800 dollars to get the job done. Even buying the kit version of a prebuilt is typically cheaper than ordering it prebuilt. This also saves you money because if you need to replace parts, you aren't tied to buying the companies proprietary(and usually more expensive) parts. See More
Building your own drone can be much more educational and rewarding then just buying one and flying it. It allows you to learn about how your drone works and become more familiar with it which will help with repairing it and flying it. By buying a prebuilt, you may not gain the knowledge that will allow you to take full advantage of your drone. See More
You can buy a second, smaller controller (with no screen) and have a second person controlling certain drone functions. For example, you can use it while doing certain activities in Follow Me mode. Alternatively, you can use it as a separate flying controller, while the other person controls the camera, essentially dividing the tasks of flying and filming/shooting. See More
The camera is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal which not only makes taking very steady captures easy, but also allows the camera to swivel 360 degrees. In addition, the landing gear retracts, so it doesn’t get in the way of your panning shots. The camera itself is on par with those found on other drones in this price range. See More
While many drones come with a remote that requires a smartphone or tablet to monitor flying data and view live images, the Typhoon H doesn't need this: it comes with a remote with a built-in display. It’s an HD touchscreen display that allows you to change settings and see what you are filming in real time. See More
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